At polls too, saga of neglect continues for transgenders

Members of the community feel that they are being sidelined during candidate selection

Why should you contest the elections when we are here to listen to your issues? Transgender activist Sisily George was puzzled to hear this query when she met some politicians in Kozhikode with her desire to contest the local body polls. Some of them just laughed at her as if she was raising some quirky demand. A few misled her with a claim that the date to file nomination papers had passed.

“It was a painful experience as no leaders were receptive to our demand. They knew well that our financial constraints would not let us challenge them independently,” says Ms. Sisily, one of the familiar transgender faces in the city. She feels that all political fronts are playing a hide-and-seek game with no honest plans for an inclusive administration.

Irked by the unkind treatment, she is now planning to try her hand in the forthcoming Assembly elections. She hopes she can win the support of some State-level welfare organisations for this democratic protest. “Two of our community members are now getting ready to contest the local body polls independently. Let us also wait to see their experience,” she adds.

Even the educated transgender people also feel that they are being sidelined during the selection of candidates. Sukanyeah Krishna, a web developer by profession, observes that the political parties want transgender people as only “show pieces” to project their claims. She feels that the State is still revolving around some outworn prejudices against her community members.

Dire straits

“Like many, I was in a situation to secure a bank loan for sex-reassignment surgery. I did not get any aid. There are many with such genuine issues, which can be dealt seriously with the entry of transgender representatives to our administrative system,” says Ms. Krishna who struggles to repay about ₹18, 000 as EMI. According to her, the voice of transgender celebrities alone can never echo the struggle of about 10 lakh such people in the country.

Responding to the demand to field transgender persons, some of the political party leaders in the district said they were yet to get any “serious requests from anyone”. They also claimed that the selection of candidates in local body elections was mostly based on local development issues and it could be done only considering the local sentiments.

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